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Helping Hands Helped 

Makej Projects 

Helping Hands Helped 

Written By: Steven Robert Cypherd 


Drill with bits (1) 
Tap & Die set (1) 


I just picked up the latest Helping Hands basically because it had a nice big clear magnifier. 
My old Helping Hands had dull little useless magnifiers. I wanted the magnifier to be on the 
center knuckle. Here is where experience with tools comes in. I did not want to use up too 
much time with another new toy. I have my Dad's tap & die set and I have used it many 
times without good results. I did learn a few things along the way. 

As soon as I began to drill my hole into the top of the knuckle I found it was soft steel. How 
do you tell? The stuff that comes out with the drill is dull and evenly coarse. The drill also 
vibrates a little as the chunks of metal are broken off. My drills are just fine. They are a new 
set of drills and bits. Tapping soft steel is a bear. If the tap is just a little off center you will 
break off the threads as you are cutting them. This is where skill comes in. 

When you are drilling soft steel you back the drill out often to clear the hole and brush away 
the bits. When you tap soft steel you go very slow as you get started to make sure that the 
tap is square. The force needed is a bit harder as you cut the threads. The force should be 
even all the way around. I go all the way around and then back up about a third of a turn to 
clear the tap. If it doesn't feel right I back out the tap and check how I am doing. I find that 
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Helping Hands Helped 

just like the drill it vibrates just a little. No curls come out. You have to feel how your tool is 
working and check your progress often. 

I find that it is safer even if your part is small to lock the part in a vise or vise grips, because 
tapping even a small hole takes a decent amount of force. With good steady force you get 
good clean threads. Uneven force and you get poor threads. Practice helps with taps and 

I completed my tapping just fine. Because the knuckle was soft steel I epoxied the magnifier 
onto the knuckle. It screwed in just fine. Then of course my helping hands fell forward. I had 
to install a foot. The base of the helping hands is even cheaper steel than the knuckle. Ugly 
drilling and horrible tapping. It looks great, though. That is the point of learning to use your 
tools effectively, so little instant projects with a new toy doesn't ruin your weekend. 

The LED lights came out of another purchase of toys that I hadn't done anything with yet. I 
found that again experience had taught me about shiny chrome-plated plastic and how hot 
glue does not stick to it unless you know some tricks. The trick? With a small glob of hot 
glue heat up the plastic for a minute or so with the hot glue gun tip. Then dig the tip into the 
shiny chrome-plated plastic until it catches a little. You have to break the surface a little so 
that the hot glue has something to bond to. The heat has to get in there too for a more 
permanent bond. Patience helps because, just as with soldering, you have heat up both 
parts so that the solder or hot glue flows onto the parts and that creates a good bond. 

The way I bent my LED leads is simple. Insulate the positive lead of the LED with some 
small tubing all the way to the base of the LED. That is the longer lead or the lead opposite 
the flat spot on the LED. Grip the LED leads with needle-nose pliers at about a 45-degree 
angle. See the picture. Bend the LED leads over the pliers to form a 90-degree bend. Crimp 
the bend so that it is flat. Give enough room for movement of your LEDs. 

Experience with your tools and techniques makes projects fun. 

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Helping Hands Helped 

Step 1 — Helping Hands Helped 

Came out great. 

Step 2 

• Lights. 

st generated on 2012-1 1-03 04:46:27 AM. 

) Make Projects 

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